The jury's out on how much riots will hurt the insurance industry

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Mohammad Khan, partner at PWC, said that while it was difficult to put a value on the cost of the damage, the eventual financial impact on insurers would be small.

"There may be some specific increases in premium for the worst affected areas but, for customers nationwide, there is also too much competition for these events to have a significant impact," he argued.

For Mr Khan the key issue was how quickly insurers dealt with claims as many small businesses may not have the cash flow to survive

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